Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Smuggling and activism frowned upon in Russia

I prefer not to think of my perspective as jaded. But often events can appear so completely predictable. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the concerns that the municipal elections in Moscow would be rigged. Human rights activists were concerned about this, and quite a few protested, according to news reports. "Quite a few," of course, is a relative term. Considering the inherent risks of any sort of anti-government protest in Russia at the moment, anything more than half a dozen qualifies as quite a few.

About 50 activists were arrested by police. Predictable. And now comes word that they are still being held. Also predictable.

Slightly surprising was word about the arrest of Valentina Shadrina.

The director of the Altyn jewelry company was accused of smuggling precious stones and jewelry. Since its start in Kazakhstan, the company has developed an international chain of jewelry stores favored for low prices on jewelry.

It's hard to believe that someone would have forgotten to pay off the necessary official, so the arrest could indicate some power shift within the FSB.

Finally, on an idealistic note, the St. Petersburg State University has organized a contest for young journalists. The Russian language details are here. The suggested themes of the contest are: "helping senior citizens, homeless children, former prisoners, cleaning trash, volunteering during the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014, healthy lifestyle and others."

Nothing too much objectionable, assuming that the pieces are written "correctly."


Ani said...

Those "journalism" topics sound more like community service for convicted but nonviolent criminals--thinking ahead, Russia? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_service

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